HONORS AND AWARDS:
2016 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year
Longtime collegiate assistant coach Jamie Spitale officially joined the Notre Dame softball staff in June of 2014, and is entering her third season as the program's volunteer assistant coach. Spitale assists in a variety of aspects related to team coaching, specializing in instruction with the Notre Dame pitching staff alongside head coach Deanna Gumpf.
During her second season with the Irish in 2016, Spitale was a member of Notre Dame’s National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Notre Dame made its 21st all-time NCAA Regional appearance (18th consecutive), advancing to the final games of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship and NCAA Ann Arbor Regional before closing the campaign with a 43-13 (.768) record.
Notre Dame hosted an NCAA Regional for just the second time (first since 2005) during a historic 2015 campaign in Spitale’s first season on the Irish bench. The Irish capped that year with a 42-15 (.737) mark, while pitchers Allie Rhodes and Rachel Nasland each benefitted from Spitale’s influence by enjoying breakout seasons.
Rhodes became the 23rd 20-game winner in Notre Dame history by logging a dominant 20-5 mark in the circle as a junior, winning 15 of her final 16 decisions. Nasland compiled a 17-9 record as a sophomore, throwing her first career no-hitter against No. 9 Florida State on her way to earning 2015 all-ACC second team accolades.
Prior to her arrival at Notre Dame, Spitale served on the coaching staff at Western Michigan University for 13 seasons from 2000-13, being elevated to the title of associate head coach in July of 2005. She was the primary pitching coach for the Broncos while also providing instruction to the team's catchers and infielders, along with overseeing the program's recruiting efforts.
During Spitale's tenure at Western Michigan, Bronco pitchers secured 11 total all-Mid-American Conference (MAC) accolades, including nine first team selections.
Meredith Whitney, a three-time all-MAC first team choice, finished her Western Michigan career in 2012 as the program leader in innings pitched (720.2) and strikeouts (742), and ranked second in career wins (62) and complete games (82) in the Broncos record book under Spitale's tutelage.
At least one of Spitale's Western Michigan pitchers was named to an all-conference team every season from 2003 until 2012. Joining four-time selection Whitney (2009-12) was Laura Stewart (2003-04), Jaymie Voss (2004), Tricia VanDerSlik (2005), Krysten Shumaker (2006) and Kyla Sullivan (2007-08) as all-MAC performers during the 10-season span.
Voss was also named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America first team in 2004, the first Western Michigan softball player to receive first team Academic All-America honors since Bonnie Kinnie in 1984.
Whitney became the first Western Michigan player ever to be named the most valuable player of the MAC Championship tournament in 2011, posting a 5-1 tournament record that included three complete game wins on the final day to clinch the conference title for the Broncos. The conference championship victory earned Western Michigan its third all-time bid to the NCAA Championship, where the Broncos ultimately fell to Gumpf's Notre Dame squad 4-0 on May 21, 2011, during the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional.
Spitale coached both Shumaker (2006) and Sullivan (2007) to consecutive selections on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mideast all-region second team, with Shumaker being the first Western Michigan player named to the all-region team since 1997. It was also the first time Bronco players had received all-region citations in back-to-back years since the 1994-95 seasons.
Western Michigan made its first NCAA Championship appearance in more than 20 years in 2003, Spitale's third season on the team's coaching staff. The Broncos finished 2003 with a 30-24 record after seeing their season end in Region 7 of the NCAA tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Prior to joining the Western Michigan coaching ranks in 2000, Spitale spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Lake Michigan College from 1997-2000. The softball program boasted nine all-conference, four all-state, four all-region and three All-America selections during Spitale's tenure.
Spitale also served a dual role as assistant athletic director at Lake Michigan College, maintaining a primary focus on academic development. A total of 41 athletes were named academic all-league, and five garnered national all-academic citations with Spitale overseeing the program's academic efforts.
An all-academic selection during a standout career in the circle at Lake Michigan College, Spitale (née Mandarino) helped lead the program to a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship victory in 1993. During her collegiate playing career, Spitale was a member of two regional championship teams, earned all-conference, all-region and all-state honors, and was a second team All-America honoree.
Spitale graduated from Hillsdale College with a bachelor's degree in science in 1997, and obtained a master's degree in athletic administration from Western Michigan in 2004. She was inducted into the St. Joseph's High School (Mich.) Hall of Fame in 2003 in recognition of her softball accomplishments.